The New York Mets finished 2016 with a record of 87-75 and lost in the Wild Card round of the playoffs. The 2016 season saw the Mets make their ninth playoff appearance in franchise history. The team received valuable contributions from various players over the course of the season. Last Word On Baseball writer John Jackson will count down the top ten most valuable Mets on a weekly basis. He will also analyze the value they brought to the team this past season. Number 10 was Steven Matz, number nine was Neil Walker, number eight was Jacob deGrom, number seven was Curtis Granderson, number six was Asdrubal Cabrera, and number five is Jeurys Familia.
Top Ten Most Valuable Mets of 2016
5. Jeurys Familia
The Mets have had some good closers over the years. With names like Tug McGraw, Roger McDowell, John Franco, and Jesse Orosco, new closers have a lot to live up to. Jeurys Familia came onto the scene in the beginning of 2015 after Jenrry Mejia received his first ban due to performance-enhancing drugs. Familia instantly made an impact, with a 43-save season accompanied by a 1.85 ERA. He quickly put his name towards the top of the list of best closers in baseball. For Familia, 2015 was going to be hard to top.
Familia began 2016 with a 16-game save streak from the 2015 regular season. He spent most of the year increasing that streak. He ended up saving eight games in April. Familia only gave up three runs in 12 innings pitched for the month, good for a 2.25 ERA.
Familia definitively hit a bump in the road during May. He gave up a total of eight runs in 13.1 innings. Surprisingly, he picked up another nine saves and didn’t blow any. That was partially because he gave up multiple runs in non-save situations, such as when he blew a four-run lead against the Los Angeles Dodgers. In his next game he gave up, the winning runs in a tied game against the Dodgers. Even with a rough month, he set the Mets record for most consecutive regular season saves on May 25, with his 32nd save in a row.
Familia came back with a vengeance in June. After giving up a run in his second game of the month, he threw scoreless innings the rest of the way. He started a scoreless streak of 11 games for the month. Also he picked up 10 saves, tied for the most in any month of his career.
July was both a great month and a not-so-great month for Familia. He picked up another 10 saves, extended his save streak, and continued his scoreless streak; however, he also blew two saves, ended his save streak, and halted his scoreless streak. He ended up going 17 games without a run scored and converted 52 regular season saves. That became the third-longest streak of its kind in MLB history, behind Tom Gordon (54 saves) and Eric Gagne (84 saves).
Just like in his rocky May, Familia bounced backed in August after a rough month. He gave up only one run the whole month. He converted seven saves, and gave up only eight hits and one walk in 12.2 innings. He also tied and then broke the Mets single-season saves record in the last two days of August. That record (43) was previously set by Armando Benitez in 2001, and tied by Familia in 2015. The only real sour note was his third blown save of the season, on the one run he gave up all month.
In September, Familia performed satisfactorily. He gave up five runs (four earned) in 14.1 innings. He also blew two saves while picking up six.
October only consisted of two games for Familia: one regular season game and the Wild Card game. He converted his MLB-best 51st save of the season with a scoreless inning in the one regular season game. The Wild Card game did not go as smoothly though. After Noah Syndergaard worked his way through seven scoreless innings and Addison Reed worked himself out of a bases-loaded situation in the eighth, Familia gave up three runs in the ninth on a Conor Gillaspie home run.
Baseball is definitely a sport that focuses and emphasizes on recent performances. After his implosion in the Wild Card game, many fans probably detest Familia. He only hurt his case after his domestic violence situation later that month. While the charges were dismissed, he will most likely serve a suspension like Jose Reyes did in 2016.
However, based on the value he brought across the entire season, he is one of the top Mets of 2016. Familia finished the season with 78 games played and 77.2 innings pitched. He went 3-4 and gave up 25 runs, 22 earned runs, one home run, and 31 walks. He picked up 84 strikeouts and 51 saves, while blowing five saves. Overall, he had a 2.55 ERA and a 1.21 WHIP.
It’s amazing to think he gave up only one home run in 77.2 innings of the regular season, but then gave up one home run in one inning of the postseason.
Why He Deserves Fifth on This List
Simply put, it would be hard to leave the 2016 MLB saves leader off this list. Saves don’t tell the whole story obviously, but when you have the most in 2016 and the most ever by a Met in a single season, it is quite notable and valuable.
Beyond saves, Familia had a good season. His overall stats put him among the best relievers in baseball. Each person below him on this list was valuable to New York, but not ranked among the best at their position in 2016.
It’s tough to express the value relievers brings to their teams, as they only play in a limited amount of games. However, Familia stayed healthy and was able to contribute across the entire season. That is something that players like Walker, deGrom, and Matz couldn’t do.
What kept Familia away from a higher spot on this list were his overall numbers in 2016 compared to 2015. While he had eight more saves this season, his ERA and WHIP were higher. If he combined his saves from this season with his overall pitching from last season, he would have placed higher.